Sun Valley Mountain Unicycle Weekend

This is a summary of the upcoming Sun Valley Mountain Unicycle Weekend. I
am hoping it will be published in the On One Wheel Magazine when I polish
it a bit, but right now it might have some important information for
people who want to come.


Imagine, forty or fifty people who get together once a year to share a
passion for off road unicycling. Many unicycle riders don’t do the off
road part.

My son Jared and I were hopelessly hooked after our first encounter with a
MUni event at the Snoqualmie National Unicycle Convention. We thought the
high point was a race down the ski mountain with a mass start. By the time
I got to the bottom, my legs were so tired that they barely supported me
when I fell.

Now, we can’t bear to miss an event. I was surprised at last year’s
event at Lake Tahoe when it was suggested that next year we have it here
in Sun Valley, even though I had been entertaining daydreams about just
such a thing. I have been finding many trails that are great riding, and
always thought it would be fun to invite others. Jeff Sloan, Chris Reeder,
and Rolf and Carl Thompson have been here to ride with us.

Sun Valley is the name that this place is best known by, even though a
better name for the whole area would probably be the Wood River Valley.
The Sun Valley Airport is actually in the city of Hailey, and Baldy, the
biggest ski mountain, is actually accessed from the city of Ketchum. The
Wood River Valley is about forty-five miles long and is a wonderful
playground. It’s southern end is in the desert, and it’s northern end
culminates at Galena Pass, into the Salmon River Valley, at about nine
thousand feet. The floor of the valley averages six thousand feet and the
surrounding mountains go as high as twelve thousand feet.

Sun Valley Company provides alpine skiing at Bald Mountain, Dollar
Mountain and Elkhorn. We claim the first ski lift in the world, installed
at Dollar Mountain in 1936, when the Union Pacific Railroad created the
resort to attract passengers on its trains. Many Cross Country trails are
scattered around the valley. There is trout fishing, most of which is now
catch and release. We have many miles of bike paths, and many more miles
of backcountry trails.

The Sun Valley Airport, in Hailey, is actually about two miles from our
house so if you can get tickets to Sun Valley, it is just a hop from us.
We plan to make our house the center for the event, with the trials event
happening in our yard. We have some terraces in the garden that we are not
planting this year so they will be available for the trials. Of course we
will expect riders to stay out of the planted ones. Also, we have an empty
hill behind our house with my practice trails. I challenge anyone to beat
my times down any of the three short trails. Farther, I challenge anyone
to ride UP any of those trails. I have not been able to do so, but not for
lack of trying. These trails will be a good place for some downhill time
trials. I will probably need to disqualify myself from these.

To get from the Sun Valley Airport to our house, turn right at the light
at the end of the only street exiting the airport, past Sawtooth Auto, a
Ford dealership. Drive approximately two miles and turn left on Woodside
Boulevard. This is a big intersection with turn lanes and some storage
units on the left. Go through the industrial park on Woodside Boulevard,
and we are the fifth house on the right.

Alternative airports are Boise, which is two and a half hours away, but
might be a cheaper fare, and Twin Falls which is an hour away. Airline
ticket prices vary making it impossible for me to predict which airport is
the best deal. It is possible for Boise to be cheaper but only if you have
enough people to justify the car rental. Transportation from either
airport is scarce to nonexistent, except for rental cars. The drive from
either place is pleasant, on mostly empty two lane roads. Part of the trip
from Boise is on interstate. The biggest hazards in September, especially
at night, are the deer.

To get from the Boise Airport to our house, turn right onto the entrance
ramp for US 84 East as you exit the airport. Drive approximately forty
miles to the second Mountain Home Exit and turn left at the end of the
ramp onto Highway 20 East. There are signs to Sun Valley at this exit. Gas
and food are available here, but the next services are sixty miles away at
Fairfield and may not be open at night. This is a long lonely stretch of
highway that crosses the Camas Prairie, where long ago the Indians
gathered every year to dig and eat the camas bulbs. You won’t notice
these in September. Continue straight ahead through Fairfield until you
get to the intersection with highway 75. There is nothing here except a
stop sign and a rest area. Turn left on highway 75 and drive north nine
miles, through Bellevue, and another mile to where Woodside Boulevard
turns right. This is a big intersection with turn lanes and a big block
building on the right. Drive through the industrial park on Woodside
Boulevard and look for the fifth house on the right. There will no doubt
be a unicycle hanging in a tree in the front yard.

I am still searching for a house to rent for the bulk of the lodgers. Of
course people who want to can camp in our yard etc. I do not anticipate
any shortage of motel rooms since we moved the dates to September. We have
many motels and although they are in very short supply over Labor Day, by
September they should be available. The two towns closest to our house are
Hailey and Bellevue, and both have several motels. I will be gathering
more information about motels to post on the website.

My favorite trails here, are the ones I can’t ride up, but can ride
down. Most of these are casual trails, near the towns, whose rhythms are
determined by the sagebrush they zigzag through. These are steep downhills
with sharp switchbacks every few feet. They are narrow and it is easy to
brush a pedal on the sage. Other rides I take are down gravelly draws. We
have other easier hiking, biking, and pack trails that will be included in
the event.

Because of snow I am still unable to scout the trails I would like to use.
I have ridden most of them but have not connected them in the way I would
like to for this event. I am trying to provide an altitude advantage and
an extreme option for each ride. I am also choosing trails that will
provide some cover,
i.e. trees, because it will be hot in the sun in September. What
follows is the way I am planning the event, but is subject to
change. If anything changes it will be the location of the rides
and not the times.

Friday will start here at our house at nine AM with registration downhills
and trials. At ten we can proceed to Adams Gulch where there are many
trails with short ups and downs and a level road that runs down the
middle. Also there are log bridges a couple feet above a small stream. The
stream will be very small in September. The banks of the stream are an
interesting challenge and there are some picnic tables for those who are
so inclined. I would like to have lunch at the top of the gulch and a
support vehicle can be driven a couple miles up the road to carry the
lunches. Everyone needs to bring their own food to put in the truck. An
extreme option will climb over the ridge to descend into Warm Springs
where we will all meet up at Apple’s Bar And Grill. Those who don’t
ride over the ridge can bring the cars. If I can connect this extreme
option, it will indeed be extreme, long and steep up and down. I have
explored all of it except a couple miles along the ridge. The descent into
Warm Springs is my favorite downhill and the local hikers call it the

Saturday will be spent at Galena. There is a lodge there, but I have not
confirmed their season yet. Saturday morning we should ride down the old
road on the North Side of Galena. This is pure downhill. I have not ridden
it yet. I believe there is an extreme option available here too but it
also needs farther exploration. This is a shuttle, so we will have to
leave some cars at the bottom of the hill. After this ride we should go to
Galena Lodge for lunch, and then we can ride the Titus Lake trail. This
trail has a mile of short steep ups and downs into a small lake at the top
of the valley. Then we will descend through the valley on a pack trail to
Galena Lodge, four miles of downhill. I think everyone will be able to
ride most of this trail, but there are serious obstacles scattered along
the whole length which should prove interesting. Some of these are uphills
on the way to the lake. There are rock water diverters on the upper
section and stream crossings and difficult sections over tree roots on the
bottom. The last mile is smooth sailing on a double track. I think there
is an extreme option descent to the lake, but I have not done it yet.

Saturday evening we want to have pizza and salad in our yard and we want
to have a trials competition also. I have collected a huge pile of logs, 2
by 6, plywood, etc. for use in the construction of the course. I am not
sure how much of this I will do myself and how much I will simply leave
for the trials crazies to do while the rest of us ride in the mountains.

Sunday I expect to ride Easley Gulch with an extreme option down Oregon
Gulch. Both of these rides begin with a ride up an old logging road, but
the Oregon Gulch trail leaves the road a little farther up the hill. Both
of these trails descend to Highway 75 trailheads, but there is a hot
spring pool and store at the end of the Easley trail while there is a
small grocery at the end of the Oregon Gulch trail. I have hiked the area
a long time ago but have never tried these as rides so this is conjecture.
Both trails descend toward the Boulder Mountains affording excellent
views. This is a shuttle, so we will have to leave cars at both trailheads
before proceeding to the start of the ride.

My phone number is: 208-788-2339, evenings and weekends and I will be
happy to send you maps or motel information etc. E-mail is: The website is not up yet. My address is: Joseph
Stoltzfus, PO Box 541, Hailey, ID 83333.

Because of the altitude, frost is possible at night. The days will
probably be very hot and dry, but nighttime can become quite cold. If you
plan to camp, bring a good sleeping bag, and if you plan to stay at a
motel it would still be wise to bring a good coat. Last year it snowed at
eight thousand feet on Labor day, and I have seen snow on the valley floor
on July fourth.